German chemical giant Bayer has said production of its glyphosate –based weedkiller may be reduced in the short term due to one of its ingredient suppliers running into technical problems, Reuters reported on 14 February.

The “mechanical failure” experienced by Bayer’s supplier coincides with a tight supply situation in global crop chemical markets, partly due to the global pandemic, Bayer added.

“Our supplier is on track to restore production (and) we’ve sourced additional materials and made other mitigation efforts to help best manage this situation,” the company said in a statement.

A Bayer spokesperson would not disclose the name of the supplier or the ingredient affected, Reuters wrote, declining to comment further on any impact on deliveries to customers.

The active ingredient in Bayer brands such as Roundup and RangerPro - glyphosate - had been involved in lawsuits in the USA mostly brought by residential gardeners claiming the weedkiller had caused their cancer, the report said.

Bayer has always insisted that scientific studies and regulatory approvals show that glyphosate is safe.

The company, which has settled around 100,000 cases costing billions of dollars, has petitioned the US Supreme Court for legal relief, according to the report, building its case mainly on repeated safety clearances given by the federal environmental regulator.

In a letter seen by Reuters, Bayer announced the supply issue to industrial customers using glyphosate, declaring force majeure, which typically suspends a supplier’s contractual liabilities following disruptions beyond its control.

In the letter, Bayer said repairs at its supplier would take about three months.

The spokesperson said the manufacturing issue would also affect in-house production of its own glyphosate-containing brands such as Roundup, according to the report.